Joe Tizzard
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Joe Tizzard: “I’d be amazed if Finian’s Oscar doesn’t run a huge race”

| 26.01.2018

All the weekend news from the Tizzard stables

I was just so very sad when I heard that Richard Woolacott had passed away on Monday. It shocked me big time. I rode with him for three seasons in Point to Points from the age of sixteen, and I knew him really well.

He’s a man I would always have a chat to at the races whenever I saw him. All our thoughts are with his family and friends, and his staff, at this incredibly sad time. Tomorrow will be a very emotional day at Cheltenham, when Beer Goggles lines up in the Cleeve Hurdle for the yard.

Looking back to last weekend we were really pleased with The Dutchman’s win in the Peter Marsh. We took three nice horses up to Haydock and the first two got stuffed, and then The Dutchman won the big race.

The owner got quite emotional afterwards which was fantastic and shows what it’s all about. It was lovely to see. It’s a great race to win and it shows that the yard is turning the corner. We then had a winner on Sunday as well, so things are looking good.

We are definitely turning the corner. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to have noticed that the yard has been quiet for a few weeks and quite a few of our horses ran below form, but things are looking up now and we are really looking forward to the spring.

The Coral horse, Battle of Ideas, is looking superb. He’s a novice and can still go and run in another novice hurdle with a penalty. We can then decide how high to aim him. We probably asked a bit much of him at Chepstow, but the experience won’t be lost on him, and he came out of the race fine. He will have a nice end to the season over hurdles, and we can look forward to a lovely season next year over fences, novice chasing.


1.15 Cheltenham – Sizing Tennessee

I’m not convinced he’s a soft ground horse but he needs practice for later in the season. He’s got better and better with every run this season and he is genuinely a Cheltenham Festival horse.

He’s put performances in already that would give him a live chance in the National Hunt Chase and the RSA, but he needs practise. He needs to run every month. Tomorrow is not ideal with top weight but he could be that bit better than the others in the race.

1.50 Cheltenham – Ultragold and Bally Longford

We are going to enter Ultragold for the Grand National and he really wants good ground. But he hasn’t run since being second in the Sefton, so we need to run him, otherwise we’ll turn up at the big meetings and he won’t be match fit.

We haven’t worked out exactly what’s best for Bally Longford but he has some good form around Cheltenham. We haven’t run him for a couple of months and he’s ready to run.

It’s a difficult time of year because it is so wet and the ground is so testing that we don’t really want to run most of our horses on this ground but we now have to as they need a run. If they handle the ground then they might win but if they don’t handle it then at least they drop down the handicap. At the end of the day there’s no downside at all. We’d just ideally prefer some better ground.

2.25 Cheltenham – Theatre Guid

Theatre Guide has had a wind operation and is in really good nick. He was third in the race last year behind Many Clouds and Thistlecrack, and they’re not about, so it wouldn’t take a huge amount for him to win it.

3.00 Cheltenham – Slate House

We are looking to answer some questions with Slate House in this race. He was too keen last time and then he stayed on. We want to find out if we should take the two mile route or the two and a half mile route with him at Cheltenham.

We need to see him settle so he’ll be dropped in tomorrow, and it will be a learning curve. He was one of the first horses that ran flat over the Christmas period, so we are looking for a decent performance.

3.35 Cheltenham – Finian’s Oscar

I don’t think he’s lost anything in defeat over fences but he’s only just turned six, he’s a young horse, and we’ve decided to revert to hurdles for the rest of the campaign. I think he’s a live contender for the World Hurdle. He deserves to be favourite for this race and I’m really looking forward to seeing him hurdling.

Don’t think he isn’t going to run over fences again, that’s categorically not the case. He could well be an ideal type for the Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury next Autumn, but it just didn’t quite happen for him over fences this season, so we’ve decided to go and try and win a World Hurdle as he’s that good, and then come back to chasing next season.

He is such a good horse. He could be exceptional in the Cleeve. Take nothing away from the opposition but I’d be amazed if he doesn’t run a huge race.

4.00 Uttoxeter – Fergal Mael Duin

He’s an average horse and hopefully this race will suit him. We identified this race for him a few weeks ago and he should run a big race.




Daniel Anwar

Daniel has written about sport for Coral, Squawka, FourFourTwo and the Premier League, among others.